With his role as Captain James Tiberius Kirk in the rebooted Star Trek franchise, Chris Pine has already headlined one successful series relaunch for Paramount. In January 2014, the studio attempted that trick again by casting Pine as the new Jack Ryan in the spy thriller Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, which was a new take on Tom Clancy's famous character, who had appeared in four previous films.
Unfortunately, the results were a little different from Pine's journeys on the starship Enterprise. Grossing $50.7 million domestically, the project clearly didn't have the interest of audiences, and it didn't help that the middling critical reception called it a sleek but unremarkable entry in the genre (read our review).
When Shadow Recruit was first hitting theaters, the film's director Kenneth Branagh had said that he hoped the opportunity to helm a sequel would come about, since he felt that there were many stories to tell in this world. But since that time, no progress on a followup has been made, and Pine believes that the ship has sailed.
"No. I don’t think it made enough money for that to happen. That’s one of my deep regrets, that we didn’t totally get that right. It’s a great franchise and if it’s not me then I hope it gets a fifth life at this point. It’s just great. I love the spy genre. I hope it’s done again and with a great story."
Given that there was such little demand for Shadow Recruit, the thought that Paramount would try to restart the series again seems farfetched at best. Even the most fervent Jack Ryan fan would admit that it wouldn't be worth the investment. Shadow Recruit had a production budget of just $60 million, which is a small amount when compared to other action titles, but the studio had something more than $135.5 million worldwide when they green lit a potential franchise starter.
Furthermore, there's reason to question if there's even room for the character in today's cinematic landscape. The number of Marvel and DC properties on the horizon has been well-documented, but the spy genre seems to be in good hands as well. Sam Mendes is working on Spectre, the sequel to his ultra-successful James Bond film Skyfall, Mission: Impossible 5 will be hitting theaters a year from now, and Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass are re-teaming for a new Bourne installment. There may not be enough moviegoing dollars for everyone to get a chance in the next few years.
And it's not like Paramount is desperate for a new tentpole to lift them up. In addition to the aforementioned M:I 5, they're also working on new installments for Transformers and Star Trek (with Pine back as Kirk), both of which are more commercially viable than Jack Ryan. So it's understandable why they would focus their time, energy, and money on continuing those brands as opposed to reviving something that appears to be dead in the water.
We'll keep you updated on the progress of a Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit sequel as more information becomes available.
Follow Chris on Twitter @ChrisAgar90.